Thursday, December 03, 2015

Smokeless Coals and Solid Fuel Stoves

Of Smokeless Coal and Stoves
A Cheaper Way to Heat
A look at a New Smokeless Briquette
1st Part 

Left to Right: CosyGlo - HiBrite and Hi-Glo

When the stormy season starts blowing and the temperatures drop, it is the time I start to think of how to best maintain heat and hot water in the home at the lowest cost.

For 8+ years now I have heated our house on an increasing basis using solid fuels. Over 4 years ago I have gone to some 95% heating using solid fuels, mainly coal. I do recognize and accept that coal is not a good environmental choice in fuels. It is dirty and releases a very large amount of carbon and particulates. However, smokeless coal based fuels are, at the present time, still despite carbon taxes etc., the most economical fuels to use.

My Little Rant.

If the government or the more financially better off community want to protect the environment, then they should seek ways to encourage the use of wood based and other non fossil fuels by the poorer half of society. One way to do this is (a) to subsidize these wood based fuels, and (b) seek to have high-density fused wood briquettes introduced to the marketplace. But it seems the preference if for the STICK method over the CARROT method. Which do you think might work the better?

The general environmental debate is a little like the argument between the USA and India over climate change. For over 100 years the USA has belched massive carbon into the air without a thank you to the rest of the world. Now they want to stop India benefiting from it's coal deposits. They can do that OK, and easily too, if they are prepared to pay and compensate India.

An Initial Look at Hi-Glo 

I got two 40Kg bags of Hi-Glo just over a week ago and have been experimenting with it in both my 6 Kw Blacksmith stove and also in my fire with its back-boiler and fire-front door. Additional I have a friend also testing this coal and giving me feedback.

First and foremost the Hi-Glo which is in a full size 40Kg bag is currently on promotional offers by some dealers. Econ Fuels Monavalley Tralee are my local suppliers is, for a short time, offering this fuel at €17.50 a bag. This represents terrific value while it lasts IMHO.

The fuel looks very like Bord na Mona CosyGlo, it is also very like Eco-Glow - maybe even the same thing under a different name? Hi-Glo has a blacker and finer texture look to it than CosyGlo. See the photo above. It appears to have a binding agent holding the briquette together - this may explain the smell it gives off when burning. (see below)

Does the fuel match up? 

The feedback I have received to date gives the following indications:

1. This fuels burns really hot and with some flame.
2. It lasts through the night and up to 9 hours without quenching.
3. It burns to a fairly fine ash, no cinders or lumps left.
4. There is 0% waste and no stones or other foreign bits in it.
5. My initial perception is that is gives greater heat output than Bord na Mona CosyGlo.

HiGlo has an unpleasant smell when burning. The smell is something between burning paint and an electrical burning smell. It is not a problem in my big fire as the smell all goes up the chimney, however, in my little stove, there is a bit of a waft into the room when the door is opened and this can cause a very unpleasant smell in the room. I have since limited HiGlow in the Blacksmith stove to last fueling at night. That way the door of the stove is not opened again until morning when the fuel has burned down and no further smell comes from it.

I will come back to this again


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